In recent updates, the American Dental Association (ADA) has issued an alert to all dental professionals, following a notification from the FBI about a significant cybersecurity threat targeting oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Although no incidents have been reported as of May 6, 2024, there is an increasing concern that these cyber threats could extend to general dentistry and other specialized fields in the future.

Details of the Threat The FBI’s investigation reveals that the cybercriminals, previously focusing on plastic surgeons, are now targeting oral and maxillofacial surgery practices. These criminals typically employ tactics like phishing, SMSishing, and vishing to manipulate victims into disclosing sensitive information, leading to malware attacks and potentially, ransomware incidents.

An illustrative example provided by the FBI involves a threat actor posing as a prospective patient to deploy malware through email attachments under the guise of submitting patient forms.

Advised Protective Measures

To combat these risks, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recommends several strategies:

Training staff to identify and avoid phishing attempts Enforcing strong passwords and multifactor authentication Keeping all business software up-to-date Resources for Enhanced Security Several resources are available to bolster cybersecurity in healthcare settings: provides a toolkit for establishing cybersecurity foundations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers free cybersecurity training aligned with top identified threats and guidance on the HIPAA security rule. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology introduces a tool for conducting security risk assessments. Additional insights on defending against AI-enhanced cyber threats are available through the Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center’s guide.

For further details and continuous updates on safeguarding healthcare practices against cyber threats, dental professionals are encouraged to visit and report any suspicious activities to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ADA’s Advocacy As the leading national body for dentists, the ADA remains at the forefront of advocating for robust cybersecurity measures to protect healthcare infrastructure. Through continuous leadership and advocacy, the ADA strives to keep the dental community informed and secure against evolving cyber threats.